EU trade deal with Canada will damage Offaly agriculture

IFA President John Bryan has expressed his serious concern about the damaging implications for Irish agriculture from an EU trade deal with Canada.

IFA President John Bryan has expressed his serious concern about the damaging implications for Irish agriculture from an EU trade deal with Canada.

The EU Commission is currently negotiating a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Canada covering all trade issues, including agriculture. The Commission have indicated they wish to conclude negotiations shortly, and a Ministerial meeting is due to be held in Ottawa on 7th February.

Speaking in Brussels, at which the trade talks will be discussed at the Farm Council, John Bryan said, “The agreement of large tariff-free volumes of Canadian imports will cause significant market damage for Irish exports into the EU, particularly for our important beef and pigmeat sectors. The price damage would be further compounded if the Canadians secure access for large volumes of high-value fresh and chilled cuts.”

The IFA president continued, “Europe must be very strong and resist pressure to liberalise trade for sensitive products, such as beef and pigmeat. There can be no one-sided deals, in which large volumes on beef and pigmeat are offered to Canada, while they offer very modest market access for EU exports, such as dairy products”.

He added, “Europe must insist that any imports must fully meet EU standards on production, food safety and the environment”.

John Bryan warned EU Trade Commissioner, Karl De Gucht, that any trade deal with Canada could have serious implications for future trade discussions with the USA.

Mr Bryan concluded, “The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must get an assurance that the trade meeting in Ottawa on February 7 will not agree to any trade deal that threatens the viability of Irish and EU agriculture.”